Three Lessons for Guest Posting with Confidence

When you are starting out, whether it be in a new career or striking out on your own, positioning yourself as an expert can be extremely uncomfortable.  You may feel like a fraud or fake, and rest assured, that’s 100% normal.

Guest blog posting is a well-established tactic to help you position yourself as an expert, but you may simply not feel ready.  The reality is that you have to start somewhere and when it comes to PR, guest blog posting is a core building block for other opportunities such as media interviews or speaking engagements.

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The key to successful guest posting in doing some prep work so you are are confident in what you are offering and can quickly turn from rookie to pro.

Here are three easy ways to boost your guest posting confidence:

Lesson #1: The Value of Relationships

Before you start firing off emails, take the time to research and understand your targets. With smaller sites, you can go in based on the information they provide on their website, but when it comes to larger, more desirable targets, you simply cannot go in cold.

Start at the beginning by building a relationship with the blogger or site manager before you pitch your story idea.  By opening the lines of communication before you pitch anything, they get a chance to know you and create a connection.  When the day comes and you want to pitch them, they are more apt to be receptive as they know you are qualified and what they can expect from you.

There’s numerous ways to build relationships including commenting on their blogs, interacting with them on Twitter or Facebook or sharing their content. The key is for you to be authentic and not just in it for the hope of landing your story on their site. Your focus should be on delivering value and being helpful with no expectation of anything in return.

Lesson #2: It’s All About the Audience

Before you even sit down to write a pitch, you need to gain a solid understanding of the site’s audience and what they are all about. You want to dive into things such as who reads the site, what they want or need, and how the blog is serving them. Do your homework with Google and tools like AllTop and Topsy. Better yet, reverse engineer the guest posting process by finding out where your competitors are posting or searching for guest posts on topics you are interested in writing about.

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From there, you can start developing story ideas that are uniquely suited to that particular audience. Build on an existing concept already covered on the site or pitch something entirely new that will be a slam dunk for their readers. In your pitch, be sure to create a clear connection between what you are pitching and how that serves the audience’s needs.

Lesson #3: Don’t Take it Personally

As you start pitching your guest posts, you need to accept that not every pitch will turn into an opportunity. You may need to pitch multiple ideas before one is a fit for the site.  PR, including guest posting, often requires time, effort and a large dose of patience.  The key is to deliver solid pitches with confidence and keep moving.

Once you’ve sent your pitch, do not assume because you’ve not heard back the answer is no. Bloggers and most sites are inundated with emails just like the rest of us.  Give them time to respond, and if you don’t hear back gently follow-up to see if they are interested. At that point, you can assume they aren’t interested and use the story elsewhere.

Finally, understand that getting a no is not the end of the world. Getting nos means you are doing the work, and it isn’t necessarily a reflection of your expert status. They may simply have too much content right now, it’s not a perfect fit for their editorial direction or readers, or any other number of things. If you are rejected, take some time to reflect on how you could tweak the pitch or re-use it for another site that’s a better fit.

Like most things, confidence is the name of the game. Before you start pitching, take the time to empower yourself through research and building relationships to ensure you can act like the expert you are. Your confidence and attention to detail will come through and lead to successful guest posting.

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0Maggie Patterson is a PR strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn the basics of PR.  She’s a passionate advocate for smart PR that gets business results and for solopreneurs going DIY with their PR.  Learn more about DIY PR on the Sassy Stories blog, and grab your free report Web Site Secrets of PR Superstars

Comments

  1. Thanks, Maggie, for the great advice! Lesson #3 is my favorite! I finally started pitching guest posts during the Famous in Five challenge, and got some nos, but it so was not the end of the world. That experience helped me pursue even greater opportunities that are working out. :)

  2. Hi Maggie
    Great article, this is definitely an area that I am looking to get into but was nervous about where to start. Your tips and advice give me confidence that I can give it a try. Thank you.

  3. A good roundup of guest blogging’s important points!

    I used to feel really bad when my pitch or article is rejected, but I eventually learned to take it all in stride. Most host blogs have nice and polite responses and I think that what makes a difference.

  4. Maggie, all of these are great but the one that I think should be shouted from the rooftops is #3! No’s in business aren’t personal they are just business. A rejected post doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of your post (unless, of course, it does) but like you said, often time just isn’t a right fit with the site at that moment in time.

    I think this is a great reminder to just keep on moving and trust that your hard work will pay off. I had a friend who got rejected six times from a blog she was trying to guest post on but pitch #7 was accepted. Her resilience has always stuck with me and I think that’s the type of drive that lands you some major opportunities.

    Thanks, Maggie, for the injection of guest-posting mojo!

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Steph.

      I love the story about SIX times – that’s awesome! You just need to keep on it and learn from each one, improve from there and keep going. It’s something I’ve been reminded of time and time again in my PR career because that story the WSJ didn’t like…maybe Forbes will run with it instead. There’s always another path.

  5. Great post, and a timely one for me too as I’m just starting to scratch the surface of guest blogging. One of the big hurdles I had to overcome was not wanting to let go of my “best stuff” as I wanted to keep it for my own blog.

    It took a couple of smacks around the head to realise that’s completely the wrong attitude, and unsurprisingly once I started sending out better quality articles my acceptance rate shot up.

    • Thanks Mike! 100% agree about using your best stuff for guest posting, it’s a mindset shift, but one that’s necessary to get your work showcased. Congrats on getting yourself out there.